The 1996 Education Act states that parents are responsible for their children’s education, ‘either by regular attendance at school or otherwise’. Here at The Outdoors Group we fully embrace the otherwise. We provide alternative educational provision for school age children through three main avenues; The Outdoors School, our Transitional Learning Programme and our Home Education groups. Before we go any further, we’d like it on record that we think teachers are absolutely phenomenal, unsung heroes and that they often work tirelessly, going above and beyond to support their pupils. However, we believe that education doesn’t have to happen within four walls and that a one-size-fits-all approach (aka the National Curriculum) isn’t effective for a growing minority of children and young people. Over the last few years we’ve seen a huge growth in our Home Education groups as more and more parents have decided to take their children’s education into their own hands and embrace the “otherwise”.
The very wise John Holt (educational theorist/philosopher) once said
“We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions — if they have any — and helping them explore the things they are most interested in.”
At our Home Ed groups, this is what we strive to do. We adopt a child-led approach, offering a range of activities at each session but ultimately the children are, by and large, in charge of their time. Our leaders focus on building ‘soft skills’ such as teamwork, communication skills, self-confidence and problem solving. (An aside: soft skills is a bit of a misnomer though as these skills are vital to happy, well rounded, confident and friendly adults.)
I know we say this about a lot of our sessions but genuinely, no two Home Ed sessions look the same. After asking colleagues for a round up of the last year’s activities, this is just a fraction of what our gang of Home Ed kids did across our three main sites:
If you’re a home educating parent or considering an alternative education for your kids and are interested in finding out more then we’ve got just the thing! This September we’re running open days at our two newest sites, Totnes and Ilfracombe. These afternoons will give you the opportunity to see the site, meet the staff and get a feel for what we offer. And if you’re ready to dip your toe in, we are delighted to offer free taster sessions at all of our Home Education groups across Devon! We are so proud to be part of the local home education community in Devon and look forward to meeting even more fantastic families over the next few years.